How to Compare the Private and Public Cloud

Currently in the contact center industry, the big buzz is around anything and everything cloud. Trade shows and industry conferences are packed with sessions and panels focused on organizations moving their communications and data to the cloud. Companies in every industry are moving all or part of their infrastructure to cloud solutions, but not everyone is moving to a public cloud model. Some organizations are looking toward a private cloud as the next evolution in their communications infrastructure.

Private clouds can deliver many of the benefits and savings that a public cloud solution can offer. Some of the most common benefits cited for cloud solutions come from the consolidation into a centralized model. However, there currently aren’t any reliable stats in the industry on the adoption of private clouds. It’s even difficult to get analysts to agree on what qualifies as a private cloud. In every project we’re involved in that is focused around the cloud, private clouds are typically included in the discussion.

Let’s take a closer look at the list of benefits for moving to the cloud and how it can be sliced up between public and private cloud options. In this graphic below, you can see that where the consolidation occurs does not matter, as the features and functionality are typically the same, just the physical location of the servers has changed. What is different though, is the benefits of each distinct model, which I outline below.

 Private Cloud

Benefits of Private or Public Cloud

  • Increased Flexibility – Being able to add new features and functionality in a rapid fashion or move/re-assign those features to where they’re most needed across the organization.
  • Elasticity – The ability to scale up or down to meet seasonality and growth needs.
  • Resiliency – With fewer moving parts, the use of virtual servers and redundant architecture, a more hardened infrastructure can be deployed to provide for better continuity across all systems.
  • Streamlined maintenance and upgrades – The burden of continued maintenance and eventual upgrades is lessened as the point solutions and individual servers at multiple sites are brought under a central maintenance model.

Benefits of Private Cloud

  • Customization and integration – With all parts of the solution on an organizations local site, the ability to mold the solution to fit exactly their business model and integration to in-house solutions is much easier.
  • Security – While many public cloud options offers many levels of security, the private cloud affords an organization the ability to physically have access to all parts of their infrastructure, as it relates to data security and compliance issues.

Benefits of Public Cloud

  • Minimal Capital Expenditures – If cost is an issue the public cloud has the advantage. With all parts of the physical hardware shifted to the hosting provider, the IT group no longer is in the hardware acquisition business.
  • Elimination of maintenance and upgrades – While in the private cloud model maintenance and upgrades were made easier, with the public cloud model that burden shifts completely from the organizations’ IT staff to the hosting provider.
  • Reduction in staff – With the offloading of the physical hardware and the burden of the software maintenance moved to the hosting provider, the organization can expect the role of their IT staff to change.

Clearly, the benefits you gain depend on which method of deployment you choose. If you’re in the process of planning for the future of your contact center infrastructure, don’t just compare premise and public cloud. My advice? Make sure the products you’re looking at can give you an option between the two so you can select the best option for your business.


Brad Herrington

Brad Herrington

As a Manager in the Solutions Marketing Group, Brad is responsible for the product direction and marketing strategy of the suite of products offered by Interactive Intelligence. Solutions Marketing is also the outward facing delivery team for webinar, seminar, analyst and media presentations as well as prospect and end customer demonstrations. His experience includes more than 20 years in the contact center and telephony industry, including the past 16 years with Interactive Intelligence focused on both the traditional and IP telephony markets.